After the February 14, 2018 attack at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the SBI, in consultation with the University of North Carolina System, decided that the traditional reactive approach of law enforcement to attacks is not sufficient to address this issue.

Partnering with University Police, and state and federal law enforcement agencies, the SBI formed the Behavioral Threat Assessment (BeTA) Unit to take a proactive approach focusing on threat assessment and management to address threats of mass violence.



Findings of the Safe School Initiative conducted by the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education suggest that some future attacks may be preventable. “The fact that most attackers engaged in pre-incident planning behavior and shared their intentions and plans with others, suggests that those conducting threat assessment inquiries or investigations could uncover these types of information.” (Threat Assessment in Schools: A Guide to Managing Threatening Situations and to Creating Safe School Climates, Washington, DC, May 2002, p. 30).

The primary purpose of threat assessment is the prevention of targeted violence. The threat assessment and management process involves the proactive work of a trained multidisciplinary threat management team charged with the responsibility to seek out and thwart potential attackers before they strike. As such, threat management is integral to the work of the BeTA Unit. The BeTA Unit uses this methodology while incorporating key investigative principles and relationships with other entities to gather information critical to informing the threat assessment process and formulating viable mitigation plans.